New-look ODU men embark on first road trip with games against Ball State and No. 14 Arkansas

Kendall Warner/The Virginian-Pilot/TNS

NORFOLK — Old Dominion mostly cruised to a 71-57 season-opening victory over Division III Virginia Wesleyan on Monday.

Things are likely about to get much tougher.

The Monarchs visit Ball State and No. 14 Arkansas before returning home to face Princeton on Nov. 22.

For restructured ODU (1-0), the road trip is a daunting early-season test.

“We’ll have to grow up,” coach Jeff Jones said. “That’s the challenge. You’ve got new guys, young guys and you go on the road, and you’ve got to be ready. If you’re not, you’re going to take some lumps.”

Seven players made their ODU debuts against Wesleyan. Among them was senior guard Tyrone Williams, a transfer from Oregon who scored 15 points.

The vertically challenged Monarchs are working on an up-tempo, transition-heavy offense while trying to install a communal defense that relies upon help in the post.

They should know more by the time they get home.

“Whether you win or lose, you want to learn from the experience and get better,” Jones said. “That’s what this time of year is all about.”

David Hall,